Becoming a PA

DSC00623 There are more than 145 accredited PA programs. Most of them award master’s degrees.

The PA programs are intensive and are generally 24-32 months long. Typically students spend most of the first year or so in the classroom studying the sciences and clinical skills that are basic to medicine. During the second phase of the program, students do clinical rotations in many specialty areas, including family medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, and geriatric medicine.

Most PA programs have more applicants than openings. The majority of students who are accepted into PA programs have completed an undergraduate degree and have several years of health care experience, for example, as paramedics, health educators, corpsman or registered nurses. Some students have volunteered or worked at a hospital, clinic, or nursing home.

For more information about PAs, PA schools, the application process and more see the
Physician Assistant Education Association.

To read about a few of the schools and programs that recruit/support American Indian and Alaska Native students, see Schools/Programs